Top MLB Playoff Betting Picks for Saturday, October 16th (2021)

Oct 16, 2021 - 11:58 AM

The Championship Series round kicked off with a thrilling Game 1 between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. The Red Sox will claim that the Astros completed their 5-4 comeback win because of “two bad pitches,” but the fact is that they succumbed to the hottest offense that there have been these entire playoffs.

While the Red Sox-Astros matchup is a rematch of the 2018 ALCS, the Dodgers-Braves is a rematch of last year’s thrilling NLCS. Then, Atlanta had Los Angeles in a 3-1 hole before the Dodgers outscored the Braves 14-7 in the series’ last three games, en route to the pennant and their first World Series championship since 1988.

Since 1985, the winner of Game 1 won 57% of the best-of-seven series. Therefore, all is not lost for the Red Sox, who seemingly face an uphill battle against the Astros. Which team will strike first in the NLCS?

Here are my best bets for Saturday’s MLB playoff action. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 190-160-8 (+13.64 units) 

Houston Astros ML (-135)

The Boston Red Sox have proven to be a resilient bunch this postseason. Many wrote off Boston after their 5-0 loss to the Rays in Game 1 of the ALDS, but they reeled off three consecutive wins and outscored Tampa Bay 26-15 en route to an ALCS berth. The Red Sox will not be an intimidated bunch in Game 2, knowing that they had a lot of chances to break Game 1 open and have their best pitcher all year on the mound today. That being said, Houston’s offense, especially at home, is a force to be reckoned with and is the biggest reason they are worthy favorites this afternoon.

The Astros became the fourth team in postseason history to score five or more runs in their first five playoff games. And they will not be intimidated by Eovaldi, against whom current Astros hitters have a combined .329 batting average and .582 slugging percentage. Jose Altuve has homered three times in 22 at-bats against Eovaldi, while Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Martin Maldonado, Kyle Tucker, and Carlos Correia all have better than a .300 batting average against the Red Sox ace. In addition to Altuve’s and Correia’s great numbers against Eovaldi, they set a Major League record yesterday for the number of times they have homered in the same playoff game by a pair of infielders on the same team. The duo saves their best for the bright lights, and today will be no different.

The over is 4-0 in Eovaldi’s last four starts as an underdog, while the under is 4-0 in Houston starter Luis Garcia’s previous four starts as a home favorite. The under is also 5-0-1 in Garcia’s last six starts against teams from the A.L. East, which has us liking his chances of keeping Boston’s scoring down.

Atlanta Braves ML (+115)

As of this writing, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not yet announced a starting pitcher. There is a chance they go with Max Scherzer after he recorded the save in their clinching Game 5 win two days ago, but it is not official. Scherzer is 0-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings this postseason.

While Scherzer has been incredible in the playoffs this year, Braves starter Max Fried has been fantastic for the last couple of months. Fried led the majors with a 1.74 ERA after the All-Star break. He went 8-2 in that span, and 13 of his 14 outings were quality starts. Fried continued where he left off in the regular season in the NLDS, pitching six scoreless innings in his lone appearance against Milwaukee. Fried faced Los Angeles twice in last year’s NLCS, pitching to a 2.84 ERA despite going 0-1 in those starts.

While the Dodgers are 40-18 in their last 58 meetings with the Braves, Atlanta will not be intimidated by a team whose season they had three chances to end last year. It is impossible to bet against Fried as an underdog given the form he is in, and expect L.A. to be a bit wobbly to start this series given all the emotions that went into beating their biggest rivals in the NLDS.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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